Report from Jye Campbell and Jason Lawler, Panthers Juniors Reporters
Panthers held its annual one-day camp for the club's junior representative squads at Panthers Stadium on Friday.
Just under 200 young Panthers from the club's SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Country Championship squads took part in the day.
The Panthers Juniors Mini Camp paired NSWRL’s mandatory physical testing with skills sessions, gym work and an education and welfare seminar led by former Panthers Shane Elford and Kevin Kingston.
The seminar focused on healthy decision-making, discussing a wide variety of topics including concussion, anti-doping regulations, mental health and social media.
The players also had quality mouthguards fitted with the help of staff from Westfund Health Insurance.
A host of key figures in the Panthers junior system also attended the camp, including Academy Head Coach Ben Harden, Academy Strength and Conditioning coach Sam Jones and recruitment officer Jim Jones.
“It’s been a fantastic day,” Panthers High Performance Manager Matthew Cameron said.
“We thought it would be a good time during the school holidays to access the players and it’s been a great opportunity to pool all that talent into one location here at Panthers Stadium.”
The camp was a showcase of the depth of talent in the Panthers junior system, with Cameron holding high hopes for the club’s SG Ball, Harold Matthews and Country Championship sides in 2018.
“It’s always promising here at Panthers," he said.
“Our SG Ball team is again looking very strong, we’re very excited by our Harold Matthews side and our under-15s and under-17s teams have a great opportunity to participate in the Country Championship this year.
“Developing our own players is very important to us and you only have to look at the NRL side this year to see how far the Panthers junior system has taken the club.”
Following a series of trials against the Parramatta Eels at Patrician Brothers Blacktown this Saturday, the four Panthers junior squads will be trimmed from 45 players to approximately 25 players each.